BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — A federal court hearing Friday afternoon will determine whether the Dakota Access oil pipeline, or DAPL, should be allowed to continue operating without a key permit while the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers conducts an environmental review on the project.
U.S. District Judge James Boasberg wants the Corps to explain how it “expects to proceed” without a federal permit granting easement for the pipeline that began carrying oil from North Dakota to a shipping point in Illinois in 2017.
The hearing in Washington, D.C., was originally scheduled for February. But it was postponed to allow officials from President Joe Biden’s administration more time to familiarize themselves with the case.
In a news release issued Friday morning, officials of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe and Earthjustice, an organization representing the tribe in its efforts against DAPL, said early reports they’ve received suggest the Corps will not shut down the pipeline’s operation during the environmental review.
“We are gravely concerned about the continued operation of this pipeline, which poses an unacceptable risk to our sovereign nation,” said Standing Rock Sioux Tribe Chairman Mike Faith.
“This pipeline is unsafe and operating in violation of federal law. Meanwhile, Energy Transfer is seeking to double capacity, which would make DAPL twice as dangerous. Yet it’s sounding as though the Biden administration’s decision here is to do nothing,” said Earthjustice attorney Jan Hasselman.